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Author Topic: iPod Touch, PIM, and Outlook (WAS: Thunderbird as a PIM Hub)  (Read 8803 times)
daddydave
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« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2010, 05:02:48 AM »

One thing to bear in mind is that I am used to is interacting with my data with several different apps. I registered both Pocket Informant and Agenda Fusion (tried not to use both at the same time but they both had their annoyances so I switched back and forth). In addition I used NewTray and liked to try out various freeware addons to display tasks on the today screen, many of which were aware of not only the native tasks but of Pocket Informant and Agenda Fusion. I think if I went with Apple, that ecosystem doesn't seem to exist I would be locked into one app and wouldn't be able to work around its annoyances. I don't have a lot of incentive to go with Apple anyway, I would not be able to write an app for it for example unless I purchase an Apple computer. So for the time being I will stick with Windows Mobile, although I strongly considered Palm Pre and Android.
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daddydave
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« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2010, 12:44:04 PM »

LeaderTask (free on GOTD today) seems to have what you are looking for. Tasks, notes, calendar & contacts. Syncs with Outlook and Gmail.

And free; today at least.

I did take advantage of the giveaway and was very impressed until I saw that sync is one-way except for contacts. When you click on sync, you do a two way contact sync, and then an import of Outlook notes, tasks, and calendar items, but it does not push its own notes, tasks, and calendar items to Outlook. I was interested in seeing how it represented sub-items, like subnotes and subtasks in Outlook, but it doesn't try. However at least there is a mobile version so that may not matter.

The interface is very nice.
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steeladept
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« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2010, 02:31:03 PM »

I think if I went with Apple, that ecosystem doesn't seem to exist I would be locked into one app and wouldn't be able to work around its annoyances. I don't have a lot of incentive to go with Apple anyway, I would not be able to write an app for it for example unless I purchase an Apple computer. So for the time being I will stick with Windows Mobile, although I strongly considered Palm Pre and Android.
That is what I thought, and a big reason I tried an Android phone first.  I am definitely no Apple Fanboy, and this was the first time I actually bought an Apple product.  I tried and tried to avoid it, but there was no use - there is no alternative that is comparable if you want Outlook integration (unless you are using an Exchange Server).  The problem with Android is that the Android platform locks you in every bit as the Apple platform, and worse, doesn't have anything to allow you to sync with Outlook at all (again, there is an exception IF you use an Exchange Server)!  If you wanted to program your own, sure, but then you could do that with any system and wouldn't really be looking here (at least I would think you wouldn't).  With the Android platform, the only difference is instead of being held to the Apple Hardware (but able to use just about any software you want), you are able to use any hardware that will support the Android platform, but you are locked into Google.  All mail pretty much MUST go through GMail (there are some email apps out there for other platforms such as Yahoo and Hotmail, but they are little more than shortcuts to the web version).  All documents end up going through Googledocs, and most apps just do not have the smooth polish of Apple apps.  Combine that with the possibilities of a Jailbroken iPhone (completely reversible btw), and you really open yourself up to at least as many options on the iPhone.

All this said, if you have time, I would wait another month or two (or three) and see how the Windows 7 Phones work out.  If I wasn't in immediate need when I got my phone, I would have waited for just such an occasion.  Unfortunately that was not an option for me.
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daddydave
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« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2010, 03:43:01 PM »

steeladept, does that assessment change any at all when it is considered I will not be buying a data plan for reasons stated here? How many cloudless Apple apps are out there?

Actually looks like there are a few. I know there is an iSilo for iPhone as well.

Also, can iPod Touch use passthrough connectivity from a PC when connected to the PC like Windows Mobile can? Then in theory I could do some things like downloading podcasts "online".

« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 04:09:17 PM by daddydave » Logged
Dormouse
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« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2010, 04:17:33 PM »

The problem with Android is that the Android platform locks you in every bit as the Apple platform, and worse, doesn't have anything to allow you to sync with Outlook at all (again, there is an exception IF you use an Exchange Server)!  If you wanted to program your own, sure, but then you could do that with any system and wouldn't really be looking here (at least I would think you wouldn't).  With the Android platform, the only difference is instead of being held to the Apple Hardware (but able to use just about any software you want), you are able to use any hardware that will support the Android platform, but you are locked into Google.  All mail pretty much MUST go through GMail (there are some email apps out there for other platforms such as Yahoo and Hotmail, but they are little more than shortcuts to the web version).

I don't really understand any of this. I have an Android phone and I'm not locked in. Email apps are available and easy to sync with any email provider that you are using.

I haven't looked at syncing with Outlook, since that is the last thing I want to do. But I've seen references to CompanionLink and Fliq which claim to sync.
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steeladept
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2010, 03:39:47 AM »

steeladept, does that assessment change any at all when it is considered I will not be buying a data plan for reasons stated here? How many cloudless Apple apps are out there?

Actually looks like there are a few. I know there is an iSilo for iPhone as well.

Also, can iPod Touch use passthrough connectivity from a PC when connected to the PC like Windows Mobile can? Then in theory I could do some things like downloading podcasts "online".


No.  Everything I said works equally well with my iPod Touch (that is what I am using as a proxy for testing).  As for the passthrough connectivity, yes.  Well sort of, I think.  I honestly am not exactly sure what you mean by passthrough connectivity.  The iPod Touch can link to any wireless (802.11b/g maybe n) connection and run directly as a device for podcasts and whatnot.  You can also use iTunes (either on the computer or the preloaded app) to download podcasts and other similar content.  Lastly, there are yet more apps out there that allow you to view pretty much anything else that they support independent of Apple (YouTube, for example, has an app that will let you download YouTube videos directly to the device without going through iTunes).  Actually most apps that are made for the iPhone work equally well with the iPod Touch.  The few exceptions I can think of are phone specific, or location based apps.  These need the GSM towers to connect and function.  Everything else (even SMS apps and the like) work fine on the Touch.  Of course you need a wireless connection for any connectivity type apps, but they work.

I don't really understand any of this. I have an Android phone and I'm not locked in. Email apps are available and easy to sync with any email provider that you are using.

I haven't looked at syncing with Outlook, since that is the last thing I want to do. But I've seen references to CompanionLink and Fliq which claim to sync.
The problem is you need a separate app for each of them and not all services provide one.  On the iPhone, the generic email app allows me to consolidate my Yahoo, Hotmail, GMail, Exchange, and any other IMAP or POP3 email account (up to 4 accounts) into the one app.  I can likewise download separate apps if that works better.  With the Android platform I *MUST* create a GMail account and I *MUST* register and use it for many different uses, even if I already have several email accounts and don't want to use GMail (which I don't).  With the Apple platform (Gah, I am already starting to sound like a fanboy, yuk! - <washes mouth out with soap....comes back to finish typing>) I do need to create an Apple account for the iPhone/iPod Touch, but then I don't need to ever use it again (except for any iTunes/app store "purchases").  All email communication comes in on any email service I prefer, and in fact I have no Apple email service at all.

As for the apps that claim to sync, I don't recall Fliq, but I know CompanionLink is VERY expensive ($40+ USD)  and really doesn't fully sync.  I think it syncs emails, but my main concern was with contact lists and calendars and it didn't do calendar syncing at all IIRC. Must have been thinking of a different app I tried.  However, to make it even more expensive, not only is this app $40, but then you needed to get DejaOffice on top of that.  Don't know how much more that would cost.

Just looking at Fliq real quick already shot it down.  Need a Fliq account and must sync with the account, not just between Outlook and the Device.  I can already do that if I am willing to go through GMail and use that as the common hub instead. Guess I really do need to read closer.  But this app too is quite expensive.  If I had seen it when I had my android device, though, I might have given it a whirl and seen if that would have satisfied my needs.

 My problem is I didn't want a common hub to complicate my life further, I just wanted something that consolidated my already too distributed electronic life.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 03:49:30 AM by steeladept » Logged
Dormouse
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2010, 07:25:20 AM »

The problem is you need a separate app for each of them and not all services provide one.  On the iPhone, the generic email app allows me to consolidate my Yahoo, Hotmail, GMail, Exchange, and any other IMAP or POP3 email account (up to 4 accounts) into the one app.  I can likewise download separate apps if that works better.  With the Android platform I *MUST* create a GMail account and I *MUST* register and use it for many different uses, even if I already have several email accounts and don't want to use GMail (which I don't).  With the Apple platform (Gah, I am already starting to sound like a fanboy, yuk! - <washes mouth out with soap....comes back to finish typing>) I do need to create an Apple account for the iPhone/iPod Touch, but then I don't need to ever use it again (except for any iTunes/app store "purchases").  All email communication comes in on any email service I prefer, and in fact I have no Apple email service at all.
The app on mine will manage all my email accounts if I want.
Android does require a gmail account (& Google Checkout) for the Market. No different to Apple in that. No need to use it. All email can be through any service you want. And I suspect you can get manage it differently, and outside Google, if you want.
Maybe the Android phone you had wasn't the same as mine.

As for the apps that claim to sync, I don't recall Fliq, but I know CompanionLink is VERY expensive ($40+ USD)  and really doesn't fully sync.  I think it syncs emails, but my main concern was with contact lists and calendars and it didn't do calendar syncing at all IIRC. Must have been thinking of a different app I tried.  However, to make it even more expensive, not only is this app $40, but then you needed to get DejaOffice on top of that.  Don't know how much more that would cost.

Just looking at Fliq real quick already shot it down.  Need a Fliq account and must sync with the account, not just between Outlook and the Device.  I can already do that if I am willing to go through GMail and use that as the common hub instead. Guess I really do need to read closer.  But this app too is quite expensive.  If I had seen it when I had my android device, though, I might have given it a whirl and seen if that would have satisfied my needs.

DejaOffice is free (approx $10 to for no adds). But it isn't actually required if you are happy to sync with the Android apps & Google. $40 is quite a lot - but they charge the same for the iOS version.

These apps are quite expensive in app terms - but no different to the standard pricing for WM programs really. And only a small part of the price differential between Apple and Android.

I'm quite happy having a lot of things going through my gmail account and that works out free. I have some email accounts I keep completely separate, so I do that too. If I used Outlook, I could set up a system to sync with that too if I wanted. The only point I'm making is that there is no reason to be locked into Google just because you have an Android phone. And, because it is OpenSource, I'm sure that all needs will be met by someone as the Android App market develops.
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daddydave
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2010, 08:44:57 PM »

steeladept, thanks for making me consider iPod Touch as an option, which was unthinkable for me before you started making the case. Sounds like you were where I was. My own research is so far corroborating what you say:

  • MobileNoter Wi-Fi edition for iPod Touch/iPhone syncs to Microsoft OneNote cloudlessly. I don't currently use OneNote, don't really like it, but maybe I need to.
  • Pocket Informant for iPhone. Used to sync  only to ToodleDo and Google though, but  "Version 1.2 adds syncing directly to Oulook via our WebIS Desktop Sync" Thus it also can be cloudless.
  • The PIM situation on Android seems grim. Do a Google search for Android PIM and you will find dozens of threads like this, but no finished apps and apparently no open API's on Google's side.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 08:47:13 PM by daddydave » Logged
bob99
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« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2010, 09:49:59 PM »

I have been looking for a full fledged Android PIM for some time.  No real luck.  There are have been a number of posts by people on the Android Forum also looking.

DejaOffice has been trying but it seems it works well on some mfg & model phones but not so well on others.  Companionlink is needed to perform a USB sync and there was talk of them coming out with a wireless sync about the time I stopped trying to get DejaOffice to work on my phone. Here is a link to their forum if you'd like to look at it.
http://www.dejaoffice.com...13-DejaOffice-for-Android

The Handbase database app has just recently been released for Android.  I have not used it yet but there have been ex Palm & Pocket PC users on the Android and some other forums that have been waiting patiently for it's release.  Saying this will allow them to use their Android phone more effectively.  May be someone will come up with a PIM using it.
Handbase site
http://www.ddhsoftware.com/Android/

Edit
Adding the Handbase forum link.
http://www.ddhsoftware.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=7
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 09:54:25 PM by bob99 » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2010, 09:57:24 PM »

Handbase on the Windows Mobile platform and also on Palm was a great app which I almost registered. In fact, I tried several and on the WM platform, I found it to be the best balance of power and ease-of-use.
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steeladept
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« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2010, 12:17:00 AM »

steeladept, thanks for making me consider iPod Touch as an option, which was unthinkable for me before you started making the case. Sounds like you were where I was. My own research is so far corroborating what you say:

  • MobileNoter Wi-Fi edition for iPod Touch/iPhone syncs to Microsoft OneNote cloudlessly. I don't currently use OneNote, don't really like it, but maybe I need to.
  • Pocket Informant for iPhone. Used to sync  only to ToodleDo and Google though, but  "Version 1.2 adds syncing directly to Oulook via our WebIS Desktop Sync" Thus it also can be cloudless.
  • The PIM situation on Android seems grim. Do a Google search for Android PIM and you will find dozens of threads like this, but no finished apps and apparently no open API's on Google's side.
It does indeed.  The only real difference I see is your Notes requirement.  The Touch does have a notes app, but does not sync with outlook.  If that is the only problem, however, it may be your closest solution.  I was a Die-Hard WinCE 3.0 fan, I just wanted a phone integrated at the time and it would have been perfect (the Dell Axiom line was SO CLOSE!).  I am begrudgingly becoming an iOS fan, mostly because there is so little else to choose from.  I really like my iPod Touch for what it is but I have a fair number of gripes about it, mostly dealing with my inability to get unapproved apps without Jailbreaking (which does have it's own set of issues - primarily when time to upgrade the OS if you so desire). Given the darth of alternative devices, it is effective for what it is.  My biggest gripe now is the battery is starting to go on it and that is not a user replaceable item.  Moreover, it costs about $70 to replace not to mention the time it takes to send it in, get it repaired and get it back.  During this time you are SOL. Not a good option in my opinion.  Supposedly there are some sites that tell you how to replace it yourself (which voids the warranty, but who cares, by the time the battery dies it is out of warranty anyway unless you buy AppleCare for the device, if it is even available).  Still, the device is almost 18 months old and still very useable.   I understand that the batteries typically only last 18 - 24 months on the iPhone, so I don't expect it to last a lot longer (if at all) on the iPod Touch.  I get the funny feeling that you and I (and probably a ton of other people out there) have a lot of pent up demand for a device that just doesn't exist right now - and probably won't for a long time, if ever, for a variety of reasons.  Let us know what you do decide to go with though.  As you can see, there are several of us around with a variety of systems.  I am sure someone can point you in the right direction for additional ideas on your chosen device.
The app on mine will manage all my email accounts if I want.
Android does require a gmail account (& Google Checkout) for the Market. No different to Apple in that. No need to use it. All email can be through any service you want. And I suspect you can get manage it differently, and outside Google, if you want.
Maybe the Android phone you had wasn't the same as mine.
Actually I understand that AndroidOS 2.2 does work that way like you said (except for the Outlook sync - that still is unavailable from what I have read and been told by others with an EVO on 2.2.).  The phone I had was a Galaxy S phone with AndroidOS 2.1 which did not.  Further, while Samsung released v. 2.2 for the Galaxy S phone line, AT&T refused to release it or, indeed, provide so much as a roadmap for the release.  Given this and the other problems I had with it, I dumped it.  Maybe it is more an issue with AT&T, but the neat part for me with the iPhone is my connection with AT&T is now with regard to phone service ONLY.  ANYTHING with the device, Apple handles.  Moreover, any updates Apple provides becomes immediately available to all devices using that OS.  Not just becoming available to multiple other vendors who get to push their own crap onto the device and deciding if and when I can take advantage of certain features.  With that Galaxy S phone, for example, Google set their own release schedule.  Then Samsung would take the release version and test it on their phones with whatever extra stuff they decide "I NEED".  Then when they get around to releasing it, AT&T gets to do the same thing!  Only then do I get the chance at updating to features I may believe I want or need, which then may or may not be enabled by the "tweeners" that I had to deal with.  With my iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple provides the device, device support, and the OS, and it's related support.  Meaning when they release it, I have it immediately available.  And with AndroidOS 2.2, yes, I felt that was an immediate need for several of the features.
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daddydave
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« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2010, 08:45:17 PM »

According to this discontinued project on Google Code, IPhone 3.0 firmware and later allows syncing Outlook Notes natively. But not the iPod Touch?

Apparently the the iPod Touch too. I may need to do a firmware upgrade
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 09:11:40 PM by daddydave » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2010, 05:26:26 AM »

The deed is done, I got an iPhone Second Generation 16GB off ebay.

This morning I find some timely news.
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steeladept
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« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2010, 04:11:21 PM »

Nice.  Thanks for the news.  Hope that works out well for you.  It has for me so far.
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daddydave
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« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2010, 06:58:42 AM »

The deed is done, I got an iPhone Second Generation 16GB off ebay.

This morning I find some timely news.


I wasn't aware PwnAge Tool was Mac only. So now I have the Chronic Dev blog and greenpois0n bookmarked, or at least in browser history. I may try it un-jailbroken first so I have a better appreciation for the benefit of it. The device should arrive Friday. Making a list of apps I want to install, I think I'll put Couch to 5K first on the list.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 07:01:41 AM by daddydave » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2011, 07:52:54 PM »

An update: I am mostly happy with the iPod Touch, but not really found my groove in regard to Outlook tasks. I am struggling to implement David Allen's GTD as well, but I can't really find all the features I want in one app, and I have paid for a few different apps.

One nice thing about Apple is that you don't have to buy an iOS phone to see the contents of the app store. Unlike Google's Android. There are alternative app stores you can search and read reviews at, but not Android Market itself. So it was easier to research and conclude that Apple was indeed where the apps were.

iOS also seems to be where developers have been aiming first before bringing out their Android apps. Eventually the momentum will swing to Android, although I don't expect the PIM situation to be much better there, maybe I am too picky. This is my third PDA (had a Palm, and a Dell Axim before) and in each case I made the decision the same way: go to the OS where the apps are. I see a few developers starting to put their best work into their Android apps (Evernote for example) so I see the momentum swinging yet again

Coincidentally, two of my online accounts, gmail and gawker got compromised since I got the ipod touch, just as I was starting to feel I was being paranoid about having data in the cloud, I now realize I wasn't paranoid enough. The Gmail thing was weird, I avoid all the "free wi-fi" like Ebola and I only connected to my home wireless network,. However I hate all the iOS apps that have you put your Google account information in the settings, now all my apps are suspect. For the everyday individual who interacts with the web on a personal level, it seems that cloud security is all downhill from here.

One thing I wish I had considered was that the newer generations of iPod Touch have more memory to work with. I believe this is why Apple wisely disables multitasking on 2nd Generation devices. However, I feel I needed it and enabled it on my jailbroken device, just to be able to get back to the last several apps without having to go back to the launcher (springboard) or too much fiddling. Also I can see the amount of memory in the top status bar, thanks to another jailbreaking tweak. And if it gets too low, the device reboots and it takes forever for it to boot back up. However, the 3rd or 4th Generation weren't really at my ebay price point.
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